(April 05, 2016) --

Fisheries Ecologists at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and University of South Alabama announced Tuesday a first time effort to estimate Red Snapper recreational fishing mortality with a High Dollar Red Snapper Tagging Program.

The program is a cooperative effort with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, the University of South Alabama, Auburn University and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division.

How will it work?

Dr. Drymon and his team will tag 750 Red Snapper beginning next month. Based on the number of tags returned by anglers, an estimate of recreational fishing mortality can be calculated.

Dr. Drymon explained there were two critical assumptions when devising the program. One was that 100 percent of anglers will report the tagged fish. Anglers are traditionally rewarded with a hat or t-shirt for returning a tagged fish, an incentive that may not be sufficient to warrant participation. This program ups the ante with a cash reward of $250 per tagged fish. Dr. Drymon said the team took great care in devising this program to ensure that the tag returns would provide the best possible estimates of recreational fishing mortality.

The second assumption is that tagged fish could shed their tags. In order to estimate the number of fish that could shed their tags, the team decided to double tag 250 fish. The reward is $500 for the angler fortunate enough to catch a double tagged fish.

Tags must be mailed to the Auburn Department of Fisheries for anglers to collect their reward.

To report caught tagged fish, anglers can call toll free 855-818-9983 or e-mail red@auburn.edu.